If we take just a handful of the high-profile security breaches over the past few years, where cyber criminals obtained administrator rights as a way into the corporate network, the approximate total number of customers affected reaches almost 300 million, a figure just shy of the total population of the United States! There's no doubt that the figures are eye-opening, but what is more alarming is the fact that many organizations are still resisting fundamental security best practice - the need to remove admin rights across their estate.
To look at this issue more closely, Avecto conducted its Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report 2014. Now in its second year, the report takes an in-depth look Microsoft's Patch Tuesday bulletins and the vulnerabilities they highlight.
One of the key statistics from this years' report indicates that 97% of Critical vulnerabilities, impacting the Microsoft product portfolio, can be mitigated by simply removing admin rights. This statistic alone underlines the continued benefits of stripping away admin rights and re-emphasises how it should be one of the pivotal parts of your security strategy.
Don't just take our word for it
A number of independent authorities including SANS, The Council on Cyber Security and the Australian Department of Defense, all agree. These third parties all include the removal of admin rights as part of their security recommendations, as a quick, easy yet highly effective way to improve and strengthen an organization's security posture.
With McAfee now reporting 387 new threats every minute, more than 6 per second*, the security landscape is one under constant, advanced attacks. To combat these threats, it's recommended that organizations employ Defense in Depth (DiD), a layered approach to IT security that prioritizes high-impact, proactive solutions without overreliance on the more traditional ‘reactive’ measures such as antivirus.
Privilege Management technology, which enables you to remove admin rights from users across your estate and instead assign privileges directly to apps, tasks and scripts, is one such layer. Rather than locking down your users, Privilege Management technology enables users to work with standard user accounts, creating a much safer business environment without impacting on user productivity.
This really is the first step that organizations should undertake to vastly improve their security posture, providing a solid security foundation. Its effectiveness is bolstered with the addition of other layers, such as Application Control, patching and Sandboxing.
With 88% of insider attacks now attributed to privilege abuse, it's time to be proactive and take a hold of admin rights.